Covishield, Covaxin mix can give better results, says ICMR
The Indian Council of Medical Research has revealed that a mix of Covishield and Covaxin, the two main vaccines of India's Covid vaccination programme, can actually yield better results, news agency ANI reported. The study was only conducted on 18 people of Uttar Pradesh's Siddharth Nagar, who by mistake received two doses of two separate vaccines. According to the finding of the study which is yet to be peer-reviewed immunisation with a combination of an adenovirus vector platform-based vaccine, followed by inactivated whole virus vaccine was not only safe but also elicited better immunogenicity. Covishield, manufactured by Pune's Serum Institute of India, is the adenovirus vector platform-based vaccine and Covaxin, developed and manufactured by Bharat Biotech and the ICMR, is the whole virus vaccine. Covishield and Covaxin belong to two different types.
The study titled ‘Serendipitous Covid-19 Vaccine-Mix in Uttar Pradesh, India: Safety and Immunogenicity Assessment of a Heterologous Regime’ has been uploaded on medRxiv. Under this study, 18 people received two doses of two different vaccines, the reaction of which was compared to 40 receipients of two doses of Covishield and 40 recipients of two doses of Covaxin, news agency PTI reported. The study duration was from May to June 2021, it said.
Mixing of vaccines is being discussed globally all studies are in favour of mixing two vaccines to increase the protection against future infection. The subject expert committee of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation has in July recommended a trial of mixing Covishield and Covaxin, which will be conducted by the Christian Medical College in Vellore on 300 healthy volunteers.
While that will be a proper clinical trial to investigate the effectiveness of the cocktail of Covishield and Covaxin, the ICMR's study was based on the goof-up that took place in May. There was no immediate adverse impact of the mix-up of the beneficiaries. Now, further study has revealed that the mix-up has actually worked in favour of protection as these people have more protection than those who have received two shots of the same vaccine.
The issue of mixing vaccines is sensitive as World Health Organization has warned that individuals should not decide on mixing vaccines. Niti Aayog member (health) Dr VK Paul had earlier said that theoretically there is no problem in mixing two vaccines as the second dose in such a case will work as a booster shot. But as the government started its vaccination drive on January 16, it asked health workers to exercise extreme caution to make sure that the beneficiaries receive the second shot of the same vaccine that they received as their first shots.